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Kuwaiti Twitter User Jailed for Insulting Emir

Categories: Kuwait, Middle East & North Africa, Free Expression, Legal Threats

On March 31, Hamad Al Khalidi (@HAMED_ALKHALDI [1]) was sentenced to two years in prison by a Kuwaiti lower court for insulting the Emir of Kuwait on Twitter. He has already begun serving his sentence, though his attorneys plan to file an appeal on April 8.

Al Khalidi personally announced the sentence via Twitter [2]:

تم الحكم على نواياي بالسجن سنتين مع الشغل والنفاذ !

Because of my opinions I'm sentenced to two years imprisonment with forced labour!

Hamad Al Khalidi (Image Credit: Courtesy: Al Aan) [3]

Hamad Al Khalidi (Image Credit: Courtesy: Al Aan)

Al Kahlidi's lawyer, Jasser Aljade (@jasser_aljade [4]) also tweeted [5]right after the sentence was pronounced:
سأستأنف حكم حامد الخالدي بعد قليل وسنحدد جلسة استئناف في
أقرب فرصة ومتوقع تغيره بإذن الله
We are requesting an appeal hearing at the earliest opportunity and expect this sentence to change, God willing.

The Gulf News [3] reports that the Kuwaiti government has broadened its crackdown on tweets that allegedly insult the leader of the Gulf nation:

Al Khalidi is one of dozens of opposition activists and former MPs who have either been sentenced to various jail terms or are on trial on similar charges…More than a dozen youth activists and former MPs have so far been handed down jail terms following a clamp-down on opposition social network users and activists. Criticising the emir is illegal in Kuwait and is considered to be an offence against state security.